After last year's success, the Artful Night Under the Stars is back to raise funds for The Tree House Episcopal Montessori School in Santa Rosa Beach. The art sold so well, that doing it all over again this year was a no-brainer.
"Last year, we sent out a blast e-mail to all parents asking if they had any connections with artists for the fundraiser," explained event co-chair Michelle Uhlfelder. "This year, we had people calling us, and the list of artists grows daily. When something is a good idea, it's a good idea."
The Tree House, at Christ the King Episcopal Church, offers a pre-primary program for ages 2 to 3, a primary program for ages 3 to 6 and a kindergarten program. All proceeds raised at the Artful Night Under the Stars will go toward the kindergarten curriculum enhancement and scholarships.
Uhlfelder, along with her co-chair, Genevieve Torrey, have been more than happy to see local artists and businesses contribute to the success of the event. Event space donated by V at Seagrove, cupcakes from Sweet Henrietta's and centerpieces from Botaniq are just a few examples donated goods. Not to mention 25 and counting local artists who have donated works in various mediums including: : Amundson Images, Anne Hall Designs, Arlene Newsome, Belinda Parsons, Blessings in Disguise, Candace Price, Chastane, Gordie Hinds, J Conley Images, Jane + Steve Thomas, Jane Whaley, Jonesy Works, Justin Gaffrey, Kim Pall, Kyleigh M. Reynolds, Kyrce Culbertson, Mary Hong, Maxine Orange, Miffie Hollyday + Rich DeAngelis, Peggy Jones, Susan Lucas, Steve Wagner, and 30 Alphabet.
With her own two kids attending The Tree House school, Uhlfelder appreciates the importance of the school that brings together educators and parents to support children in reaching their full potential. The small school, with a total of 35 students and four teachers, aims to develop early learning skills that students can carry on throughout their academic career. Thanks to fundraisers like the Artful Night Under the Stars, families with financial needs can apply without the burden of tuition fees, which opens up the school doors to all children in the local area.
"Early childhood education is so important," Uhlfelder said. "We try to make sure that when a family comes here and has a need, we fulfill it."